Discover Barriere, British Columbia: A Blend of History and Natural Beauty
Barriere, a district municipality in central British Columbia, Canada, is a hidden gem nestled 66 km north of the bustling city of Kamloops on Highway 5. This charming community is situated at the confluence of the Barrière River and North Thompson Rivers in the Central North Thompson Valley, offering a unique blend of history, culture, and natural beauty.
The Rich History of Barriere, British Columbia
The area has been home to the Simpcw, members of the Secwepemc, since time immemorial. The origin of the name 'Barriere' is uncertain but dates back to at least 1828. The name is believed to have arisen either as a description of indigenous fishing techniques or as a description of the difficulty early French-speaking fur traders faced when crossing the river.
The present community of Barriere traces its roots back to 1914 with the establishment of the post office and railway station. The area saw a gold rush as early as 1861, which brought both prosperity and disease to the region. Today, the people of the Simpcw First Nation continue to reside in present-day Chu Chua, just north of Barriere.
The 2003 Fire in Barriere, British Columbia
In 2003, the McLure Forest Fire swept through the area surrounding Barriere, destroying 72 homes and 9 businesses, including the Louis Creek sawmill, a significant local employer. The fire, which cost $31.1 million CAD to extinguish and caused another $8.2 million CAD in property damage, led to the evacuation of 3,800 people. Today, a wildfire dragon monument stands in Louis Creek to commemorate the determination and compassion of those who fought the flames and aided in the rebuilding of the community.
The Climate of Barriere, British Columbia
Barriere boasts a humid continental climate with cold winters and warm summers. The region experiences an average annual snowfall of 121 cm and temperatures above 30 °C occur 27 days in a year. The climate is dry, with an average annual precipitation of 486 mm.
Demographics of Barriere, British Columbia
In the 2021 Census of Population conducted by Statistics Canada, Barriere had a population of 1,765 living in 760 of its 848 total private dwellings, a change of 3% from its 2016 population of 1,713. With a land area of 10.73 km2, it had a population density of 164.5/km2 in 2021.
Infrastructure in Barriere, British Columbia
Barriere became an incorporated municipality in November 2007, with Mike Fennell, a member of one of the founding families of the community, winning the election for the first mayor. The community is served by the Royal Inland Hospital located to the south in Kamloops and to the north in Clearwater, British Columbia. The Yellowhead Highway #5, which offers the only viable route in the interior to northern British Columbia, Jasper, and Edmonton, passes through the town.
Industry in Barriere, British Columbia
The primary industries in Barriere are forestry, tourism, and agriculture, with the forest industry being the main driver of the local economy. The town is home to two industrial parks and is just south of the newly discovered Harper Creek Copper deposit, considered to be the 8th largest in the world.
Community Services in Barriere, British Columbia
Barriere offers a range of community services, including the Barriere Community Health Centre, Barriere Doctor's Office, Barriere Massage Therapy, and Backwoods Chiropractic.
Recreation in Barriere, British Columbia
Barriere is surrounded by areas for hiking, fishing, hunting, camping, and more. The town is home to the Chinook Cove Golf Course, Fadear Park, and four baseball diamonds. The community also hosts the North Thompson Fall Fair and Rodeo every Labour Day weekend, which attracts about 10,000 people annually.